Glasgow is massively popular, with loads of tourists flocking to Scotland’s biggest metropolis every day. It’s most famous for nightlife, culture, and lots of friendly faces, but it’s also a surprisingly good base for nearby walks and wanders.
So in this article, I’ve brought you the 15 best walks in and around Glasgow.
Some are gentle strolls, others are challenging day trips, and a small few are multi-day adventures for people who like big long treks.
Pack some sandwiches, get your backpack on, and bring those hiking boots. Today, Travelness are exploring the 15 best hikes in and near Glasgow. Hope you’re warmed up!
I- Multi-Day Hiking Trails in and Around Glasgow
1. West Highland Way
Scotland’s most famous long-distance hike, the excellent West Highland Way starts just north of Glasgow, in the town of Milngavie.
It then runs along some of Scotland’s most famous areas and landscapes (including Glencoe, the Ben Nevis area, Loch Lomond, and Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park), before finishing in Fort William, one of the most touristy towns in Scotland.
If you’re only going to take on one long-distance walk in Scotland, it should be the West Highland Way. It’s popular and accessible, but it’s still pretty challenging—and best of all, it’s a brilliant introduction to some of the most famous parts of the Highlands. Around 35,000 people tackle the hike in its entirety every year.
If you want to know much more about the West Highland Way, check out our comprehensive guide to the whole hike.
2. The Forth & Clyde Canal and Union Canal Towpath Route
This strangely-named route takes you between Glasgow and Edinburgh, the two most impressive cities in Scotland.
For pretty much the entire route, you walk along the banks of one of two canal towpaths: during the first half of the hike, you wander along the Forth & Clyde Canal; during the second part of the route, you follow the Union Canal. You start in Bowling, just west of Glasgow, then hike all the way to central Edinburgh.
It’s a good choice if you want a long walk that isn’t too much of a challenge. Obviously, canals are flat—so the walk is all pretty easy. And while lots of Scotland’s walks are remote and rural, this one largely takes you past boats, locks, towns, villages, pubs, and lots of urban areas.
Pro tip: because this is a pretty urban route, it’s easy to tackle separate sections at a time. So if you only have time for a day walk, picking a section of this route is a great idea. Here’s the most logical way to split it into 6 days.
3. The John Muir Way
Another brilliant long-distance challenge, the John Muir Way runs across a similar part of Scotland as the canal towpath route I’ve just outlined above.
For large parts of the route, it actually runs along some of the canal towpaths. But because the John Muir Way is 71 miles (114km) longer, and because it sometimes veers away from the towpaths, the two walks are pretty different to one another.
The route is named after Scottish conservationist John Muir (who helped to establish some of the US National Parks), and takes in some of the places that influenced his life and his work.
You hit some coastlines, the outskirts of both Edinburgh and Glasgow, and some of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. For a combination of hills, shores and urban industrial areas, it’s absolutely brilliant. And best of all, it’s a pretty hefty challenge.
II- Easy Single-Day Hiking Trails in and Around Glasgow
4. The Kelvin Walkway
Alright, remember the West Highland Way I mentioned earlier?
If you don’t want to do that, but instead want a little flavor of it, you can walk from Glasgow to Milngavie, where the West Highland Way begins.
Known as the Kelvin Walkway, it’s a popular route for people who want a long walk without much of a challenge. Urban, residential and easy, it’s not the most exciting walk on the planet, but it’s good if you’re walking with kids, or a dog, or people who don’t want to clamber up lofty peaks. You follow rivers for pretty much the entire walk.
5. The Falls of Clyde Circuit
A popular weekend walk for people who live in Glasgow, the Falls of Clyde Circuit takes hikers past some of the best waterfalls in Scotland. It starts in New Lanark, a riverside UNESCO site south east of central Glasgow.
Back in its glory days, New Lanark was one of Scotland’s most significant milling centers, home to some hugely important mills, waterhouses and workshops.
On the walk, you get great views of New Lanark, some excellent riverside stretches, and the beautiful Falls of Clyde. If you like waterfalls, you’ll absolutely love this one.
You also stroll past farms, fields, woodland, and some pretty grand homes.
Warning: the falls are way stronger than they look, so don’t try to swim in them.
6. Pollok Park Circuit
If you want a simple stroll right in the center of Glasgow (or a really easy walk), this one’s for you.
Glasgow’s biggest (and best) green space, Pollok Park has woodland, gardens, a stately home, a kids’ play area, and loads of popular picnic spots. No matter when you come, it’s always busy.
For the best walk, head to the main Pollok Park entrance, on Pollokshaws Road. From here, follow White Carr Water before turning right towards Pollok House and its formal gardens. Then continue heading in a clockwise direction until you get back to where you started.
That’s the way I’d explore the area, but you obviously don’t need to do what I’ve said. I’m not your dad. Because it’s a country park with lots of various trails, there are countless ways you can wander around, so feel free to wing it kid.
7. Glasgow Murals Trail
Another one right in the center of Glasgow, this is the most unusual walk on our list.
While lots of our entries take in peaks and panoramas (or at least city-center greenery), this one’s entirely urban, and brings you close to all the best street art in Glasgow.
If you start on Buchanan Street and follow this circular route, you’ll see some of the city’s most iconic and interesting murals and graffiti pieces. Of all the cities in the UK, I reckon Glasgow has the best street art scene.
This walk is also a nice way to explore the city. Because it goes through the center of Glasgow, you’ll see lots more interesting stuff en-route, including places to eat, drink, shop, and hang out. You’re gonna explore central Glasgow on foot anyway, so I recommend exploring it via this route.
8. Castle Semple Loch Loop
If you want an easy walk that’s pretty, varied and quiet, this is perfect. It’s a good choice for families and older people, or anyone who wants a nice gentle stroll.
Starting from the Castle Semple Loch Visitor Center car park (in the village of Lochwinnoch), follow the northern shore of scenic Castle Semple Loch before heading uphill through some woods to the easy-to-reach summit of Park Hill. From here, you get surprisingly excellent views of woods, lochs and distant villages.
Afterwards, head downhill past the ruins of the Collegiate Church, and back to the shores of the loch. When you’re done, the visitor center has a popular (and lovely!) cafe.
You can reach the starting point by car, or by direct train.
9. Culzean Castle Country Park, from Maidens
If you want a diverse wander without having to go out into the middle of nowhere, you’ll love this one—it’s massively underrated. Best of all, it’s easy (with basically no ascent or descent), so pretty much anyone can tackle it.
Park at the beach car park on the northern end of the village of Maidens, and follow the coast along excellent cliffs and sands. One you hit Culzean Castle Visitor Center, head inland and walk through the deer park (where you might see some deer) and the alpaca area (where you’ll definitely see some alpacas).
Normally, I’m a bit of a walk snob, and only like intense ones. But on this wander, you get animals, cliffs, coasts, Swan Pond, excellent views, Culzean Castle and Gardens, and a short stretch of the Ayrshire Coastal Path. So what I’m saying is, no matter what you’re into, you’ll really enjoy this jaunt.
Maidens is around one hour from Glasgow by car. If you don’t have access to a car, don’t bother.
10. Mugdock Country Park
Mugdock Country Park is a great place to visit, whether you want to walk or not.
Within its sprawling confines, you get cafes, events, wetlands, moorlands, kids’ play areas, occasional outdoor theater performances, and endless animals and birds. It’s hugely popular with families.
There are endless trails around the park, so you can just park up and wander wherever you fancy. But if you’re looking for a specific route, here’s what I’d do:
Park at Drumclog Moor car park, on the western shore of Mugdock Reservoir, then wander past Milngavie Golf Club to Mugdock Castle. After that, hit the northern part of the park in a big loop (passing Craigend Castle and the two little lochs), before doubling back on yourself and heading back towards your car. If you tackle this route, you’ll see basically all of the park’s highlights.
To reach the car park, it’s easiest to use a car. Public transport is possible (via the X10 bus or X10A bus), but you’ll need to walk to the park after you get off the bus.
11. Seven Lochs Trail (in Seven Lochs Wetland Park)
If you like good country parks, you’ll absolutely love Seven Lochs Wetland Park.
The largest nature park in Scotland, it’s packed with lovely stuff, including play areas, ponds, nesting birds, rambling families, endless trails, and countless urban escapes.
Obviously, the park is home to seven lochs. And the best way to explore them all (or at least most of them) is via the Seven Lochs Trail, which takes you across almost the entire length of the park. The walk takes you along the shores of three of the lochs, and very close to the rest of them.
It’s a massively popular route with people who like both hiking and birdwatching, cos they get to combine their two favorite hobbies. It’s also perfect for families, and people who don’t want to venture too far into the wild.
It’s easiest to use public transport for this one—because it’s a linear route, using public transport means you don’t need to worry about getting back to your parked car.
12. The Whangie
Halfway between Glasgow and Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, The Whangie is a great option if you don’t want to drive very far in pursuit of a good hike. The car park is on the A809 road, just north of Milngavie. It’s 30 minutes north of Glasgow (by car, obviously).
Part of the Kilpatrick Hills (one of southern Scotland’s most underrated hiking areas, and packed with lots of lovely walks), the Whangie is a big strange rocky outcrop that juts out from some otherwise flat fields.
On the walk, you get distant views of Burncrooks Reservoir and the hills behind it, then (if it’s a good day) some excellent panoramas of Loch Lomond. You then walk through a narrow crack in the Whangie before hitting the summit.
Pro tip: this is one of Scotland’s best rock climbing areas. So if you’re into all that stuff, take your mat and your shoes, and have a play around on the Whangie.
III- Challenging Single-Day Hiking Trails in and Around Glasgow
13. The Cobbler
One of Scotland’s most strangely-named mountains, The Cobbler is a massively popular day trip from Glasgow. It’s an excellent ascent, with its summit clocking in at 884 meters (2,900 feet).
One of the most recognizable peaks in Scotland, the Cobbler is made up of three summits. To reach it, you want to park in the big car park off the A83 at Succoth (west of Arrochar) before following the red waymarkings. It’s around a 1-hour drive to the car park from Glasgow.
On the way up, you get excellent views of Loch Long, good views of the Cobbler from below, and brilliant panoramas from the peaks. If you want a challenging but accessible day trip hike from Scotland, it’s a top-quality choice.
Pro tip: the vast majority of people don’t try clambering up the lower south peak. It’s only suitable for climbers (rather than hikers), and you need specialist equipment to do it. So unless you’re experienced, don’t bother (I don’t want you to die).
14. Conic Hill
When people ask me to recommend a short and accessible (but excellent) hike in southern Scotland, I always recommend a jaunt up Conic Hill. It’s a pretty easy walk, with an ascent of only around 350 meters (1,148 feet), but the views are way better than you’d expect. Hikes this easy don’t normally have views this good.
Plonked on the eastern part of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, you get incredible views of Loch Lomond from the summit. You also get woods, hills, an easy ascent, and about ten million incredible picnic spots. The walk should only take a couple of hours, but you’ll probably want to enjoy the en-route views for way longer.
Park up in the big car park in the center of Balmaha, and it’s easy to find the trail. This car park is around 1 hour away from Glasgow.
15. Ben Lomond
Ben Lomond is one of Scotland’s most famous peaks. Measuring in at 974 meters (3,195 feet), it’s a big boy, but a hike up to the top is a relatively easy and accessible challenge.
If you want to tackle it from Glasgow, the easiest way is from the Ben Lomond car park at Rowardennan. By car, it’s around 1 hour. By public transport, it’s not worth the hassle.
From this car park, you climb through some woods, then keep ascending until you reach the peak. It’s a pretty steady climb, but it’s totally doable if you’re accustomed to hill walking. On your way up, on a clear day, you can see pretty much the entirety of Loch Lomond and its various islands. Then from the summit, you get even better views, in all directions.
If you’re gonna do a real mountainside walk from Glasgow, make it this one.
Final Thoughts and Further Reading
There they are—the 15 best hikes in and around Glasgow. Thanks for reading!
See you next time!